From infant to full-born, all living creatures need resources to grow and develop properly. Of these resources, this excerpt from What’s Cooking Mom centers on food, and everything that surrounds the task of feeding human beings. In particular, Dr. Sarah N. Gatson’s narrative explores how the feeding phenomenon has personally impacted her past, present, and future.
Seen throughout is the idea that getting food from the ground to the table has relevance in many different areas of society, such as class, gender, and race. This response will analyze the ways in which food plays a role in defining these areas of society, with a focus on mothers. To begin, Gatson elaborates on her “simultaneity” with the example that she can play “both a mother,…
and an academic” dealing with various food-related agricultural processes. These words challenge the generalization that mothers are, or need to be, more domestic depending on the relationship of feeding a family. This emphasizes the misconceptions on the meanings of words such as “domesticity, home, and labor.” They are so often grouped together, pushing mothers and women into culturally charged roles that are grounded in a biological need to be nourished. This misconception can be further seen in the referenced conflict that mothers seem to face when it comes to choosing between nurturing or ambition.
Gatson solves this conflict within herself by framing her ambition around the broader scope of what it means to feed and care for people, family, and communities. Furthermore, an anecdote about the author’s African American family illuminates the relationship between blacks and the feeding industry, and the reasoning for her area of scholarship. Describing her childhood, Gatson shares that certain policies in the past tied African American closer to agricultural lifestyles. This furthers the notion that production has been sourced to the less fortunate, and consumption to the more fortunate. What the author takes from her past is the importance of personally growing produce, and how the unbeatable taste and the familial atmosphere created has motivated her to focus on community building, growth, and equity.